October 27, 2004

So I got two 3Com switches free from work a couple years ago. I received a Linkswitch 1000 (12 port) and Linkswitch 3000 (8 port). The only problem was that no one knew what the manager and security passwords were, so I had no way of reconfiguring them. The only password that worked was monitor/monitor, which just allows you to view the configuration. I spent some time searching for some backdoor passwords or a way to clear the password. I found some supposed backdoor user/password values, but none of them worked. I tried contacting 3Com too, but they weren't really any help unless I was willing to dish out some big bucks for support. Boo!

Two years pass. The switches collect dust unused.

The sysadmin at work found the old manuals for the switches and they had some notes in them that looked like they might be passwords. I tried various combinations to no avail. Then I searched the web again for info on how to reset passwords on these switches and turned up a promising discussion thread: http://www.tek-tips.com/viewthread.cfm?qid=555357.

The thread outlined a method to reset the switches to the factory defaults (which includes resetting the passwords). Here is the procedure, with a few notes from me.

You can reload or update your firmware to reset the passwords, you will need-
  1. Firmware (for a Linkswitch/Superstack II 3000 like I have) the url is http://support.3com.com/software/superstack_ii_switch_3000.htm The firmware files you download will have names like ls3k3_23.exe. These are self-extracting archives that you must run to get the actual firmware files, which will have a file type of .slx
  2. a null modem cable
  3. a TFTP Server software; you can download one for 16 or 32-bit Windows from 3com called 3CServer http://support.3com.com/software/additional.html (make sure you set the TFTP folder where the firmware file is located, TFTP clients, like the switch, cannot change folders)

Once you have all this in hand do the following.
  1. Connect the null-modem cable, configure Hyper Terminal for windows users to the com port you have connected, normal com setting N-8-1 none and VT100, connect to switch (login should appear if not don't worry console may be disable) [I used an old DEC VT220 terminal instead, but HyperTerminal should work fine]
  2. Configure and start your TFTP Server
  3. On the switch push the reset button 2 seconds
  4. Wait 3 seconds
  5. Push reset button again for 1 second
  6. You should see the boot prom prompt after a few seconds [This may take several tries to get it to work, try adjusting the timing of the steps until it does]
  7. At the prompt line type the following commands: [Comments follow "//"]
        F [firmware filename] [press enter]      		//ex. F ls3k3_23.slx [enter] 
        RIP 000  				//Instruction to reset to factory defaults after upgrade
        B [IPAddress of TFTP Server] [press enter]		//ex. B [enter]
  8. After firmware update, the switch will reboot and the passwords will fall back to factory default. The factory default logins & passwords are monitor/monitor, manager/manager and security/security.

This method has been tested on both a Linkswitch/SuperStack II 1000 and 3000. It has worked perfectly on both and reset all values to the factory default. It is presumed to work with all 3Com Superstack switches. Huzzah!